Contestants on a French game show called 'Game of Death' have been shown to be willing to torture a man to death if given encouragement.
The TV show, named 'Le jeu de la mort' in French, was part of an experiment that will be aired on French TV tonight.
According to the show's producers, 81% of contestants were persuaded to administer painful electric shocks to a victim, at up to a 420-volt charge.
The audience also encouraged the contestants, shouting "punishment" as further shocks were administered.
The victim screamed when given the shocks and eventually appeared to die.
Both contestants and audience were unaware that the 'victim' was an actor and his screams of pain, and eventual death, fake.
The show is based on a controversial 1961 experiment at Yale University by Stanley Milgram. It will be shown on France 2 TV as part of a documentary about the manipulative power of television.
Christophe Nick, the show's producer, said he was amazed that so many contestants followed the sadistic orders. He said that only 16 out of the 80 contestants refused to administer the electric shocks.
One contestant found that the show helped her understand how her own Jewish grandparents had been tortured by the Nazis.
"Since I was a little girl, I have always asked myself why the Nazis did it and how they could obey such orders?" she said. "And then there I was, obeying them myself."